It was a big weekend for the UC Davis baseball team.
The Aggies ended their season in style, taking two of three from visiting Cal State Northridge at Dobbins Stadium.
The series victory pushes UC Davis’ record to 13-42 overall and 5-19 in Big West Conference play.
More importantly, though, it gives a youthful Aggies baseball team some momentum heading into the offseason and the 2010 campaign.
Friday – Cal State Northridge 4, UC Davis 3
UC Davis knew a sweep of the Matadors would move it past Cal State Northridge, helping it to stay out of the Big West cellar.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, this wasn’t the case.
Cal State Northridge managed a narrow win in the series opener by dousing the fire of UC Davis’ ninth-inning rally, 4-3.
Ryan Scoma led the way for the Aggies both at the plate and in the field.
A San Carlos, Calif. native, Scoma went 2-for-2 with two walks and an RBI. He also threw out a runner at third with a frozen rope from right field to turn a double play. Grant Hirneise and Kyle Mihaylo drove in the Aggies’ other two runs in the close defeat.
After getting off to a shaky start, UC Davis starter Scott Lyman recovered to throw 7.1 innings of three-run ball; he surrendered all three in the first two innings. He was saddled with the hard-luck loss.
Saturday – UC Davis 6, Cal State Northridge 5
Down 5-3 heading into the home half of the ninth, UC Davis rallied for three runs in the final frame to tie its series with Cal State Northridge.
The Matadors put the Aggies in a hole by putting four runs on the board in their half of the eighth.
UC Davis then returned the favor to earn the walk-off victory an inning later.
With one down, Justin Schafer singled and Daniel Cepin reached on an error to put runners at first and third. Ty Kelly singled home Schafer and moved Cepin to third, providing his third RBI for the Aggies.
Scoma followed with a groundout to second that scored Cepin and moved Kelly to second.
After a Mihaylo walk, pinch hitter Eric Johnson provided the game-winner with a clutch single through the left side to plate Kelly and show the Matadors the door.
Sunday – UC Davis 4, Cal State Northridge 3 (10)
It was déjà vu for the Aggies on Sunday.
A day removed from a walk-off win, UC Davis pulled out yet another victory of the walk-off variety on Senior Day, 4-3.
Senior starter Jeremy McChesney pitched seven innings of four-hit ball to pace the Aggies.
“Jeremy pitched his tail off today,” said coach Rex Peters. “You can’t ask anymore than what he did out there on the mound.”
With a 3-0 lead, McChesney loaded the bases with three straight walks in the Cal State Northridge half of the seventh, but pitched his way out of the inning without allowing the Matadors to score.
Peters used three relievers – Andy Suiter, Anthony Kupbens and Adam Bennett – to complete the eighth. Cal State Northridge managed to tie the score with three runs in the frame; the first two were credited to McChesney, and the third was credited to Suiter.
The Aggies got runners into scoring position with one out in their half of the eighth and ninth but were unable to capitalize, venturing the game into extra innings.
Tim Busbin pitched the Aggies through the ninth and shut down the Matadors with a 1-2-3 performance in the 10th.
Mihaylo led off the bottom of the 10th frame by reaching on an error.
Grant Hirneise moved Mihaylo to second on a hit-and-run groundout to second. Hirneise went 3-for-4 in his last game in an Aggie uniform, scoring two of his team’s four runs.
With two out and Mihaylo at second, Scott Heylman slapped a single up the middle to plate Mihaylo and claim the win for UC Davis.
“Honestly, I expected us to win,” McChesney said. “It was just one of those game you knew you were going to win.”
Following the Senior Day win, the Aggies bid farewell to McChesney, Scoma, Hirneise and Bennett.
“This proves that we’re starting to make progress,” Peters said. “Hopefully, these young guys take this as a learning experience and go out this summer and improve.”
JOHN S. HELLER can be reached at email@example.com.